Posted March 10, 2011 at 4:00 pm
Man, what the hell.
It's been crazy all up in this shit. I had a red-eye flight back from Seattle, got home in Columbus around 9am, took a cab home, and I spent an hour or two doing things on the Internet and opening my Generations Wheeljack. I'd ordered him online and he'd arrived on Friday while I was gone. So I cracked open the bubble, transformed him into robot mode, and then went to take a nap.
And when I woke up from my nap, I was the sickest I have ever been in my life. I spent 20 hours out of Tuesday in bed, asleep, and Wednesday wasn't looking too different until about 5pm. But I'm slowly getting my strength and energy back.
So this Wheeljack may have the plague or something. Or it was that awkward guy who hovered over my exhibitor table all three days in Seattle, wiping his nose on the book he read meticulously but didn't buy, and leaving his trash behind. Either or.
Wheeljack's got a special place in my heart from my childhood, though probably not from the same childhood place as many other people. When I was wee, the first comic books I ever owned were three-packs of Transformers titles sold at the K-mart register. So I got a polybagged set of issues 7, 8, and 9, and another polybagged set of 10, 11, and 12. Since I wasn't always home from school in time to watch the Transformers cartoon, these six issues were the main source of Transformers lore. That I could read them over and over and over at my leisure kind of tipped the scale in their favor as well. The world didn't have TiVo back then. Hell, it barely had BetaMax.
But these issues are why, to this day, I love Ratchet and Huffer and Frenzy and Jazz and Wheeljack. Specifically, I loved the Wheeljack as he appeared in issue 9, "DIS-Integrated Circuits!" He wasn't addressed as a mad scientist, he was just a gung-ho wise-talking warrior. He was also, I had decided, due to issue 9, always Jazz's partner. As my experience with Transformers widened, my idea of Wheeljack started encompassing the greater "Wheeljack is a wacky mad scientist" deal, but deep in my soul, he's that plucky wisecracker from issue 9.
I talked a lot about this Wheeljack toy back when I reviewed Tracks, his mold buddy. He's a pretty extensive retool! And he has even more surprises. We could tell from the photos that Wheeljack had a new head, new wrenches (instead of missiles), new feet, a new shin transformation, new spoiler, and new wingtips. That in itself is pretty impressive. But what's even crazier is this: when you transform him from vehicle to robot mode, his head is on a geared track that moves up and out along with his shoulders. Wheeljack's geared track is more shallow than Tracks's, meaning his torso ends up a smidge wider. In addition, Wheeljack's legs don't extend as far as Tracks's legs do. This means even the robot mode proportions between Tracks and Wheeljack are retooled. Wheeljack's original toy was short and stocky and Tracks's original toy was tall and lithe, so this makes some manner of sense, and it results in Wheeljacks's new toy being a head shorter than new Tracks.
Sweet deal, yes?
As mentioned previously, the backs of Wheeljack's shins are retooled, what for making the altered leg transformation, but there's also new C joint rods back there to store his wrenches, if you're so inclined. Wheeljack can't carry his wrenches around forever!
Be careful about the instructions, however. Though Wheeljack's instructions do give him his new head, they don't depict any of the other mold changes during the transformational steps. Tracks's legs are supposed to extend way farther than Wheeljacks's, so strictly following the instructions on this may result in some excessive force that shouldn't be applied. Just pull them out as far as they seem to want to go, and no further.
This is a great Wheeljack toy, one that magically incorporates all of his signature physical attributes: his stumpiness, his shoulder missile launcher, his wings, and even the placement of his wheel kibble. It's absolutely insane that it also makes a fantastic Tracks toy, created with equal love.
I'm not sure how coherent this has been. I'm still a little under the weather.